HE WAS a gladiator on the field and a gentleman off it, a much-loved former Riverina league star who gave sweat and blood for the Junee Diesels.
So when the community recently discovered father of three Daryn Deacon was battling lung cancer, it did exactly what you’d expect.
On Saturday, the town came together to support Mr Deacon and his family, raising an estimated $80,000 in an inspiring display of unity and compassion.
A touch football competition and family fun day at Loftus Oval kicked off proceedings and a dinner and memorabilia auction were held at Junee Ex-Servicemen’s Club that night.
For Mr Deacon, 44, who was diagnosed in July and will soon start chemotherapy, the support has been overwhelming.
“Words can’t express it; we’re just at a loss,” Mr Deacon said.
“It’s totally magic and it has blown us right away. It’s amazing how much this sort of stuff can lift you up. It’s what Junee is about.”
He said while he still had a mountain to climb, he was still feeling strong.
“I feel good in myself still,” Mr Deacon said. “I’ve been travelling to Wagga (hospital) every day and I’ll start chemo soon.”
Co-organiser of the Daryn Deacon Appeal Mick McCarthy said the stunning support for Mr Deacon was testament to how well he was respected in the community.
“We only found out he had cancer about six weeks ago and we knew we had to do something,” Mr McCarthy said. “I coached him for a couple of seasons and he was such a tough player, but this will be tougher than anything he’s done.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.